Recovering Bulldozers, Think Sailboat

Seattle Sailboat Space Needle

Calling out the bulldozer in my heart, and naming it as such, has multiplied my self-awareness for how often this reckless piece of machinery ignites its engine and humms “Grrrr” to so many people:

  • The acquaintance I haven’t heard from for years that comes out of the woodwork, asking for money.
  • The dishonest patient with type II diabetes that consistently denies eating junk, yet labs say otherwise.
  • The “idiot” that parks over the white line at Trader Joe’s, making it impossible to manuever a squirmy 9 month old baby into her car seat.
  • The girl in the library wearing perfume (“Doesn’t she know that people are trying to study and people are allergic!!?”).
  • The student behind me, eating during class out out of a glass container, with a constant nerve wrenching, nails down a chalkboard, scrape for every bite of food.
  • The lady in the coffee shop opening her Ball canning jar of filtered water every ten minutes in the most unimaginably annoying manner possible.
  • The pedestrian holding up traffic because he is TEXTING on his phone while he walks across the crosswalk.

With all this self-awareness, I have been remarkably mindful of how much energy the bulldozer requires.  It eats up gas that could have been used to love, and the exhaust?  It pollutes.

I needed a new instrument of locomotion to pull me out of the smog.  Something that would inspire behavior that produced clean air to oxygenate my heart.  Something generous and free flowing. Something that didn’t eat up my energy.

That’s when I saw the sailboat.

A sailboat still gets to where it needs to be, but it does so with much more grace and beauty than a beeping, rusty bulldozer.  A sailboat requires patience and flexibility, which says to others, “I have time for you”.  It symbolizes a gentleness that has a lot more give for others’ mistakes.  It does not rely on itself to plow its own way, but instead, trusts the Wind to take it where it needs to go.  It takes much more skill to steer a sailboat than it does to plow others over with a bulldozer.  

How can you be more like a sailboat?

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7 Responses

  1. Emily

    I LOVE this post! Thanks for the reminder. This analogy is perfect for my day today. Let’s just remember this when someone is dishonest or walks right into you at Whole Foods without saying “Excuse me” or apologizing. Grr to them! But we must remember the sailboat!


    Dr. Archer

    Hi Emily. Thanks so much for your comment. I have to remember to be a sailboat in Whole Foods for the same situation you mention.


  2. Keya

    I love the analogy of the sailboat. I’ve never thought of it that way. For me when I feel the “bulldozer” coming out I have to remember that I already have Everything I could ever need. That God has so graciously met all of my needs. So if that is true, I don’t NEED to control every inch of my children’s behavior. I don’t need to be first in line to merge into traffic. I don’t need to make someone have the same opinion as I do. Why? Because I don’t NEED anything at all. I already have everything. But its a work in progress! :-)


    Dr. Archer

    Hi Keya! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Good points!


  3. Ruth

    I love this analogy! Pushing ahead to accomplish our own agenda, at the expense of leaving damage and injury behind us, is not worth it in the end. Where is Jesus in that? It’s all about reducing us and increasing Him!


    Dr. Archer

    Hi Ruthie! Thanks for your comment and also your wonderful thoughts.


  4. Dahl-ie

    You are a fantastic writer.


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